What is middleware?
Middleware and the blockchain
The term middleware has been around for sometime, middleware is used by a surprisingly large number of everyday systems running behind the scenes, holding together software that needs to communicate but lacks the ability to do so directly.
What does it do though? Well if we break down what it’s doing into very simple terms; middleware technology would take an incoming request, then process it and then send it to wherever it might need to be in a format that is understood by both parties. A legacy system for example might need to communicate to a new system but lacks the ability and visa versa. In this scenario the middleware would take the data and ensure that both these parties are able to communicate & interact.
Middleware is used by a surprisingly large number of everyday systems running behind the scenes, holding together software that needs to communicate but lacks the ability to do so directly.
Systems normally communicate via an API (Application programming interface) which quintessentially is the simplest and most efficient way to communicate the data whilst meeting the rules set by the programmers etc. There can be different types and uses of API systems, all doing different jobs…
Once you start looking at different systems using different API’s all trying to do different things it highlights the importance of middleware keeping everything in sync, the lynchpin holding together business technology.
Types of middleware
There are many types of middleware structures available, all doing differing tasks, it all boils down to doing the same job getting A to talk to B. Middleware can do a variety of tasks, from content-centric which can publish content obtained from a variety of sources, object middleware applications access object-oriented systems. Portal middleware, transaction middleware, database middleware the list goes on…
As you can see middleware covers a wide variety of uses and when done well you will never even know it was there. When you break this all down to its core values all you need to know is that middleware integration of systems old or new are crucial in opening up business opportunities.
How does this all fit in with blockchain though?
There is huge potential for this technology, it can be used to revolutionise nearly any system that would benefit from the transparent, immutable and secure transmission of data.
Many enterprise companies will have data centers which do what they say on the tin, literally store and process data.
Data is however worthless if its not working for you. If you can transmit that data to other areas of your business in a trusted and secure format, then the combination of that data starts to allow business to improve the real-time knowledge of their markets or customers.
They can then start to make informed decisions that positively affect business outcomes. Being able to plug and play a new system into legacy technology faster than ever before with blockchain middleware can be the difference between being ahead of the curve and behind it.
It is also cheaper than traditional long lead software integrations, with their attendant cost and drain on resource.
There are many other transformative qualities that blockchain can bring to the party.
When you mix the immutability of blockchain and it’s distributed network with the transmission of data, you start to open up access to this information in a fast, secure and immutable environment.
Dragging these data silos away from a centralised system with proprietorial bottlenecks, and single points of failure and vulnerability and pushing them into the broader view of your business can be a defining moment in the life of an enterprise.
As blockchain reaches mainstream adoption it moves big data out of opaque silos and into a more accessible and secure environment. Omnitude starts to put this data in control of the users using it, meaning it can start to become more useful as it begins to drive understanding and starts to shape people’s everyday tasks and working practices from the ground up.
Illustrating the principle
Jane from accounting works with financial data, it can take many weeks for her to confirm some of her data sources. She has an idea and sees an opportunity to integrate her system with the warehouse to increase efficiency, stop losses on orders and ensure that there is visibility on order status when clients call up about packages.
After speaking to Dave who works with the warehouse management system Dave integrates their logistics solution to the WMS to give notification when parcels have been received. The WMS is then also integrated with the financial system giving three different systems the ability to interact, share and understand data.
This enables Jane to confirm when orders were received by the client, this also enables Dave to ensure that further packages are not sent to non-paying clients, and gives the CEO of the company a better report line for the end to end running of their business. Clients now also get a tracking code with their invoice to track their parcels.
All of this from Jane’s idea she had whilst sipping her morning coffee. It was quickly implemented with a little tech knowledge making three existing non-interacting legacy systems more efficient without long and costly system integration via blockchain middleware .
It’s a win win all around, saving money and improving access to the most useful data.
Existing middleware systems can take months (if not years) to integrate into proprietorial systems and can cost a fortune and at the end of the process there is no guarantee that it will work the way you first envisioned.
At Omnitude we are creating a blockchain middleware platform that enables enterprises to ‘plug’ in systems quickly and easily
At Omnitude we are creating a blockchain middleware platform that enables enterprises to ‘plug’ in systems quickly and easily, and then press ‘play’, confident that the data being transmitted is trusted and secure. Leaving businesses the time to focus on the bigger picture, this all happens without the need to replace current systems.
Blockchain and middleware is a match made in heaven.